Rapturous Realizations

Don't dismiss 'Left Behind' as ineffective scare tactics. Tim LaHaye's novels brought Ida Bailey to Christ

I recently caused a stir at my church's book group by divulging a secret about me and "Left Behind." Once a month, a dozen of us meet and discuss a book with "spiritual import": We've read books by evangelical mystic A.W. Tozer, memoirist and children's writer Madeline L'Engle, and a biography of Teresa of Avila. We've read Jan Karon's "At Home in Mitford," and a new novel called "Grace at Bender Springs." We try to alternate fiction and nonfiction.

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Last month, our book was "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory," an investigation of America's evangelical subculture, which meant the next month was slated for fiction. As our discussion of "Mine Eyes" wrapped up, we began to debate what to read for next month. This is usually a pretty easy conversation: We each take turns suggesting a book, and unless almost everyone else has already read it, that's the book we read.

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